In this weeks Author Spotlight, I met up with the hugely talented, S.J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies, a Mainstream, Women's Fiction novel.
What is your book about?
Officially, Shattered Lies is women’s fiction/mainstream, but that is just the label the publishers gave it. For me, Shattered Lies is also contemporary, family saga, epic. In fact, I hate the labeling since everyone can read this book.
Shattered Lies is about a family torn apart by secrets and lies and the aftermath of those secrets and lies coming to light. Shattered Lies focuses on a family and the aftermath of what happens when long buried secrets and lies surface:
She wants to know the truth, but some secrets might be better left alone…
Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.
What inspired you to write this book?
Oh, I wish I had a magical answer for this one. There was no inspiration for Shattered Lies. It was just an idea, a one line sentence I came up with. What if? What if a young woman in a seemingly perfect family with a perfect life was to discover her entire life was a lie? That’s how a lot of my ideas form. I think of a question and before you know it, I have a book idea. Shattered Lies was always going to be set down south. I just never knew where until I moved to Mississippi. When I moved there, Shattered Lies basically wrote itself. The end result of it all could never have been foreseen from what I imagined it would be.
Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
In a way I love all the characters for their individuality, their strengths and their weaknesses. To answer the question, though, my favortite character in Shattered Lies has to be my protagonist, Kate Thayer. Her perfect life is turned upside down, she carries her own secret, but through it all, she has to do the right thing no matter what it costs her. You can't help but admire her.
My least favorite character is definitely Gary Edmonton the lawyer.
What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
I didn’t choose the genre. I think the genre chose me. I’ve actually written more than a dozen novels over the last several years, but Shattered Lies, a women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga is the first one I actively sought to publish. All my novels seem to fall into this genre and they all share the same dynamic: Families, families with secrets and lies. Not necessarily conventional families, but all families.
They say to write what you know, or write what you want to know. I write both and what I care about. I care about people, people in families, and families with secrets and lies. Hence, my genre chose me.
Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
It's a stand-alone book with a stand-alone sequel forthcoming. One doesn't have to read one in order to read the other.
Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
Actually, I began writing for publication before any writers ever inspired me. Afterwards, though, every writer I’ve read has had an influence, somehow on my writing, including the guest authors I’ve hosted on my writing blog, but the biggest influences was the late great Jackie Collins, romance author Leigh Michaels, and Multi-Published author Heather Neff. They’re all distinctly different in their writing styles, but all are great writers that inspired me.
Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
Oh my, that is a difficult question. I love so many books. I have no one genre that I prefer over another. I love to read everything and anything that interests me. Therefore, I find I can't choose just one. I enjoy books by Jackie Collins, John Grisham and Agatha Christie to name a few.
Have you written other books we should know about?
To date, I’ve written over a dozen novels, but Shattered Lies is the first one I actively sought for publication.
If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
Though, I’ve been writing since 1983, I’m still learning. Never stop learning. Never stop reading. Never stop writing. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. As long as you believe you can write, you can. Discouragement hides behind every corner. You are going to want to quit. Don’t. Never give up. Never let fear win. Never. For the day you do, you will give up. There are so many ways to get your work published now. There’s no better time to write than now. As the late, great Jackie Collins once told me when I needed encouragement the most, “Keep your writing passion on fore.” Never let life get in the way of your writing.
Where can we find your book?
Where can we find out more about you?
and of course My blogs -